The Miracle That Flooded Honduras

This update is related to the Concise Study Bible, Spanish Edition campaign.

Delivering Hope to Honduras

Blues, reds, yellows, oranges, and browns color the landscape. All is quiet apart from the warm breeze pushing along scraps of paper and empty water bottles across the dusty ground and waves lapping against the concrete wall. But the silence is soon broken by a long, bellowing horn. More blues, reds, yellows, oranges, and browns appear on the horizon as a ship makes its way toward the yard.

Workers soon file out from between the narrow walkways to greet the ship when it arrives, followed by a flurry of activity. Cranes, forklifts, and other machinery are set in motion to unload the ship, like a colony of ants carrying their food to store away. One forklift retrieves a brightly colored shipping container that looks just like all the rest.

But this shipping container’s contents are entirely different from all the others filling this shipping yard. For this, the 65th container of its kind to arrive in Central America, carries 20 tons of Spanish Bibles and biblical resources to distribute to Hondurans who don’t know or may otherwise never read of the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By God’s grace, Crossway had the opportunity through a recent initiative to partner with Resourcing Now to provide the good news to Spanish speakers in Honduras through the distribution of the Biblia de Estudio Concisa RVR. This, for many Hondurans, is a true miracle, for they now have the Word of God in their language and access to a Bible they can read for themselves.

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Deeper into the Sticks and Deeper into the Need

TJ Hanken, executive director of Resourcing Now, spearheaded the delivery of the first of these shipping containers in the fall of 2010 to a red zone (an area unreached by the gospel) in Guatemala. This came on the heels of experiencing the lack of availability of biblical resources while doing ministry in the country. He tried training pastors and discipling believers in his community, a nearly impossible task given that these brothers and sisters lacked access to biblically sound books, and oftentimes even Bibles. TJ remembers that the very first distribution he coordinated in Guatemala back in 2010 was “a celebration, filled with joy with the pastors and the people there. One gentleman said to me, ‘This is a miracle. How did this happen?!’”

Guatemala is just one example of the resource famine in Central America. “Nobody is taking literature to Central America,” TJ mused as he explained the events following his first distribution. “I said to the Lord, ‘I’ll go anywhere you send me and distribute whatever you provide for me.’” From here the Lord launched TJ on a 14-year (and counting) journey to bring the gospel in written form to every country in Central America.

It is in conjunction with these miracle shipments that donors to Crossway have provided copies of God’s Word in Spanish to TJ for distribution. The first of these copies of the Biblia de Estudio Concisa RVR shipped on a container destined for Honduras in early 2023. Donors supported the funding for these Bibles to be printed and distributed to believers free of charge, something TJ remarks as a beautiful gift to Honduran Christians. “The beauty of these Bibles is that . . . they are a free resource for recipients. Many times I’ve given a whole box to a pastor or a church because they have responded affirmatively to our vision of making disciples through the distribution of these Bibles.”

Though Bibles are challenging to access everywhere in Honduras, rural villages are especially under-resourced. So these are TJ’s target distribution areas, and he’s especially found pastors and church leaders in need of the distributed resources. “The deeper you get into the sticks, the more uneducated you find Sunday school teachers. I’ve encountered Sunday school teachers who literally can’t read, or they can only read at a second-grade level.”

So when a truckload of books arrives in one of these rural locations in Honduras and elsewhere, people flock to the scene. There are more books in that delivery than most have seen in their entire lives. On the somewhat unusual occasion when TJ finds a pastor or lay believer with a Bible during a distribution event, it reminds him of the reason he has brought these Bibles and biblical resources.

If they have a Bible, it’s most likely all tattered and beaten up. But then I get to hand them one of the new Crossway study Bibles. And with these Bibles it offers an additional perspective with the notes and other content that they just don’t have. So for pastors, it is offering them a solid resource to study, and then they can use it in the context of discipleship. If there is a weakness in the Central American church, it is discipleship. They’re great at evangelism. They’re great at getting their communities to go to church. They want to baptize these people, but they don’t disciple them, and I’ve told them my concern about that. I said to them, “what happens if these people can’t come to church on Sundays and listen to your preaching? If their only discipleship is sitting under your sermon, there’s a problem.”

To have access to God’s Word, and to have the ability to understand what it’s saying and to pass that along to other believers in the context of discipleship . . . that is a true miracle.

A Mailman for the Lord’s Work

Donors to Crossway’s Concise Study Bible, Spanish Edition campaign have made it possible for believers in Honduras and other Spanish-speaking countries to receive a copy of God’s Word, some for the very first time. Alongside TJ, we praise God for the opportunity to provide Bibles to places most of us will never visit but where the gospel is desperately needed.

As TJ shared, “I tell people that I’m just a mailman for these Bibles, and I praise the Lord for the chance to do that.” By partnering with Crossway, you’re providing the “mail” that TJ can deliver to brothers and sisters in Christ, resulting in kingdom growth.

Crossway continues to provide resources like these to believers in need around the world. Join us today in resourcing the church to the ends of the earth!

Pray for the safe arrival of another recent shipment of the Biblia de Estudio Concisa RVR that was included in one of TJ’s containers to another location of great need.

Pray for the perseverance of TJ and other gospel workers in Central America as they continue to distribute the good news of Jesus Christ.

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